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Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism

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The "evangelical feminism" movement is addressed by 22 men and women who have commited their talents to produce the most thorough response yet to the issues raised. All main passages of Scripture that are relevant to the questions are considered.

Kindle Edition

First published March 31, 1991

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About the author

John Piper

563 books3,905 followers
John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied at Wheaton College, Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.), and the University of Munich (D.theol.). For six years, he taught Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and in 1980 accepted the call to serve as pastor at Bethlehem.

John is the author of more than 50 books and more than 30 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at desiringGod.org. John and his wife, Noel, have four sons, one daughter, and twelve grandchildren.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 116 reviews
Profile Image for Hannah Reeves.
11 reviews5 followers
May 14, 2019
Like many people, I read this for research purposes, meaning I read most of it but not cover-to-cover. I'll preface by saying that the one star is for the couple of essays in here that make more compelling arguments, due either to the fact that they rely on scientific studies (that are at least 20 years old and have for the most part been altered or debunked since) or are simply written by contributors with better debate skills or charisma (as much as I disagree with him on multiple issues, including this one, I'll never deny that John Piper is highly skilled at getting his message across and convincing people it's true).
First off, I deeply, fundamentally disagree with everything put forth in this book. I'm a passionate egalitarian. But I read this text, the classic, comprehensive work on complementarian theology, hoping to uncover stronger and more thorough arguments for traditionalist positions than I've found in the Christian blog-sphere. I'm curious and wanted to give oppositional viewpoints a fair shot, and this seemed the place to go. But it became progressively clear that I was looking for better arguments than this book could offer. I've never seen more biblical passages taken out of context in one place in my whole life. Some contributors did it worse than others; many essays went the classic route of Ephesians 5, Titus, and the various Timothy verses, but others tore minute verses out of context with no apparent regard for any kind of biblical scholarship. In Dorothy Patterson's chapter on homemaking as the woman's calling, she claims that men are biblically mandated to be the sole providers for their families and backs her claim up with Genesis 2:15, a verse that isn't even remotely connected to the concepts of homemaking and breadwinning. Later, she pulls out a random verse in Isaiah to engage in some good old-fashioned fear mongering. It's practically a rule among serious scholars that you can't just grab a piece of Isaiah and use it to support something. All in all, the prooftexting in this book was unreal.
Surprisingly, something bothered me about the book even more than the positions it takes. I repeatedly ran into spots in the text where the insulation of the authors from the hard, practical truths of life was unbelievably stark. They were clearly expressing their opinions from lofty, whitewashed towers, their hermeneutics ignoring other cultures, harder economic situations, and the pervasive reality of abuse. More than just twisting themselves into philosophical pretzels to maintain ancient and damaging social norms, their writing isolated the poor, the traumatized, and the lost from what they claimed was God's perfect vision for His Kingdom (emphasis on the male pronouns). This just made it more obvious to me that complementarianism is a theology that cannot reconcile itself with reality; it turns a blind eye to the brokenness of the world while upholding the egoism and lust for power that causes that same brokenness.
The real moment of truth for me was in John M. Frame's chapter on the image of God, and how he seemed to have no trouble discussing men's Imago Dei, but had to bend over backwards to reconcile complementarian ideals of headship and submission with women's role as image bearers. His opinions on pronoun use for God were also some of the most revealing I've ever come across: "...Scripture wants us to think of God as Lord, and lordship, in scripture, always connotes authority. Since in the biblical view women are subject to male authority in the home and the church, there is some awkwardness in speaking of God in female terms." It was one of those moments where you see that the emperor really doesn't have any clothes. You've suspected it for a while, but watching him strut around completely naked and obviously unaware of it leaves you with no doubts. This book, I think, raises one vital question, though certainly not the one the contributors wanted it to: Is it difficult to connect women to the image of God because the Bible mandates submission to men, or have we taught "biblical" submission because we don't see the image of God in women?
This book is a great resource if you're an egalitarian wanting to review the complementarian perspective from a scholarly angle, or if you're already a complementarian and you want several different people to jumpstart your fuzzy feelings about being theologically strongarmed into a role that isn't biblical and that maybe you never belonged in. However, if you are anything other than a strong, able-bodied, virile man with an instinct to lead everything you see, or a pretty, submissive, ride-or-die virgin whose primary goals in life are having seven children and picking up after the men in your life, then this book could be a pretty painful and discouraging read. If you finish this book and feel like your personhood has been discredited because you don't fit the mold of "biblical" manhood or womanhood, shuffle over to cbeinternational.org, where you'll find, in my opinion, a much more beautiful, complete, and realistic view of God's vision for men and women. And yes, it's the same CBE whose mission statement John Piper and Wayne Grudem tried to tear apart in the final chapter. Any theology of gender that can and has left normal, God-loving people feeling broken and insufficient is one that needs to be confronted, and if the reasoning in this text is anything to go by, that won't be hard to do.
Profile Image for Chad Barnes.
18 reviews
December 11, 2013
The single most thorough work I've seen on biblical manhood and womanhood. Arguing from a complementarian perspective, Piper and Grudem's work is practical, but also a difficult, thoroughly exegetical, theologically rich read that is not for the faint of heart. I would venture to call this the finest work on biblical manhood and womanhood in print outside of the Bible itself, but would warn that it's content is undoubtedly on par with that of a seminary course.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Because Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is written from a complementarian perspective, some will inevitably argue that the book is chauvinist. Since chauvinism is the belief that one gender is superior to another, even a quick read of the book would reveal that the contributors could not be further from chauvinist. They soundly squash such an understanding and, in fact, argue that men and women have equal value as God's image bearers (p.95). They also argue that men and women have distinct roles. Some people insist that affirming role distinctions is inherently chauvinist. To do that, though, one must also argue that Jesus' voluntary submission to His Father ("not my will, but yours be done") means that the second member of the Trinity is inferior to the first, which has long been rejected as a heresy. One must also argue that children are less valuable than parents, that employees are less valuable than employers, and that ordinary citizens are less valuable than government officials because all of those relationships involve differing roles.
Profile Image for Tori Samar.
542 reviews75 followers
September 1, 2020
I can’t help but wonder how many of this book’s more critical reviews come from Christians who affirm male headship in the church and in marriage, recognize God-ordained differences between men and women, and believe that men and women have ontological and spiritual equality—all core views espoused by this book, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), and complementarianism. My guess is not very many. Yet that’s the strange, uncomfortable position I find myself occupying for this review. I make no claims of being the most theologically qualified to evaluate this book. Nevertheless, I believe I have understood its overall thrust and individual arguments well enough to offer what I hope are legitimate affirmations and criticisms.

Let me begin with the affirmations. First, the scholarship is admirable. I definitely had to be at my best as a reader in order to say about each essay, “Yes, I understand these arguments.” The book’s first section contains thorough exegetical/theological arguments for male headship in the church and in marriage while still upholding ontological and spiritual equality between the sexes. Additionally, the discussions of the fallacy of the excluded middle are spot on. Egalitarians and feminists often argue as though rejecting their position necessarily means supporting patriarchy, misogyny, and the like. This book exposes the flaws of such thinking. Finally, in spite of my concerns about overcorrection (see below), I do believe this book had good reason to respond definitively to evangelical feminism. Read Pamela Cochran's Evangelical Feminism: A History (see also my review of Cochran's book), and you will understand the CBMW's alarm and their desire to stem the tide, as it were.

Nevertheless, I do still have concerns about this book, especially in light of its position as a comprehensive explanation of complementarianism. The arguments presented have significant implications for every believer. The stakes are high. As careful and biblical as this book has sought to be, I do not believe it has been careful and biblical enough.

One main issue—John Piper’s definitions of biblical manhood and womanhood in the first essay are foundational to the entire book, yet I found myself unable to get on board with them. Piper argues that the heart of masculinity and femininity is the intertwined ideas of men being willing to lead, provide for, and protect women and women being willing to affirm, receive, and nurture such behavior from men. My question, however, is: What is Piper’s Scriptural basis for calling this the heart of masculinity and femininity? He leans heavily on NT passages about the marriage relationship to make this argument. But is it not just as reasonable to say that the heart of femininity is Proverbs 31:10-31, which has far, far more to say about women than how they ought to relate to men? Or is it not just as reasonable to say that the heart of both masculinity and femininity is Romans 8:29, conformity to the image of God’s Son? (I recognize that Christlikeness in practice sometimes looks the same for men and women and sometimes does not.) Essentially, Piper’s definitions struck me as being more about opposing egalitarianism than anything else. As a result, much meaningful Scripture is left unexplored (such as the passages I referenced above). And worse, Piper’s definitions push him dangerously close at times to saying that all women should be subordinate to all men.

Now, back to the idea of responding to evangelical feminism—I have no issue with the CBMW seeking to respond to a movement it found unbiblical. But responding to movements one disagrees with can sometimes lead to real or perceived overcorrection. Perhaps I was just an oversensitive reader, but I did indeed walk away from this book with the taste of overcorrection in my mouth. The book placed heavy emphasis on the differences between men and women and largely ignored their similarities as image-bearers—an approach far too unbalanced for my comfort level. It was almost as if the contributors were afraid to acknowledge anything that might make them sound egalitarian. Why does this lack of balance matter to me? For one thing, when we become hyper-focused on differences, we run the risk of believers in local churches over-segregating along gender lines in fellowship and ministry. Too much emphasis on differences can also harm the way we approach discipleship and personal spiritual growth. I think women may be particularly susceptible to the latter problem. Consider the following insight from Hannah Anderson in her book Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image:
Too often as women, we have restricted ourselves to the “pink” parts of the Bible. When we identify first and foremost as women, we can begin to believe that knowledge of ourselves will come primarily through passages that speak to women’s issues or include heroines like Ruth or Esther. But when we do this, when we craft our learning and discipleship programs around being “women,” we make womanhood the central focus of our pursuit of knowledge instead of Christ.
(Note: I am not trying to say by my previous paragraph that masculinity and femininity are not important parts of discipleship and spiritual growth, nor am I saying that the local church should never have gender-segregated fellowship or ministry. I am merely expressing a concern I have about this book's emphases leading to overcorrection.)

Finally, I was astounded that this book made almost no attempt to explore how culture has influenced our perceptions of masculinity and femininity, whether for good or for bad. Yes, biology matters. I don’t deny the significance of biology at all. But how could a substantive discussion of cultural influences be so glaringly absent? Nature and nurture.

I’d be lying if I said I don’t post this review with some trepidation, but I’m following my conscience and my understanding of Scripture as best I can. I hope what I have said is of some profit to those who read it.
Profile Image for Stephen.
Author 4 books8 followers
November 25, 2012
While I ultimately disagree with the conclusions of this book, it is a well-written and argued case for complementarianism. The greatest strength of the book is its exegetical work and its breadth (including forays in law, psychology, and biology). I found the core biblical argument unconvincing, but again, well-stated. I cannot recommend this book as a resource for better understanding the roles of men and women in the church, but I do recommend it as the classic statement of the complementarian position which should be engaged by those arguing for evangelical egalitarianism. A thought-provoking read.
1 review
November 27, 2011
Does not follow Christ's example of sincere & servant-hearted equality of male & female believers. Disappointed. Phoebe, a female deacon, is praised by Paul, plus other female Christians as active in God's work. Recent search for a balanced bible church uncovered one with this motto listed as what they strive for..i.e.subjugating Christian women in all roles-even secular (!!) vs. empowering women to go beyond dangerously lukewarm participation in all areas of life. A dismal gag-order for over half the church population based on sex, not competency.
Profile Image for Mary.
33 reviews3 followers
April 14, 2008
I read this volume as part of an individual study with a former student of mine at Temple U. She was interested in the evangelical "biblical equality" movement and included this book on her reading list. (She also included another anthology by later antagonists: Discovering Biblical Equality, eds. Pierce and Groothuis.)

A few of the chapters in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood are written by the editor, John Piper. This was my first encounter with Piper, and in the past few years, I have become increasingly astonished with how popular Piper is! He is joining a long tradition of celebrity preachers. (I believe that you can even get a feed on your blog now with daily Piper quotes.)

The rating: The two stars are primarily for educational value. If I rated this solely based on inspirational usefulness, it certainly would have received less than that, as I do not agree with many of the position statements. I am also uncomfortable with both its exegetical style and the broader evangelical tendency to treat the Bible as the fourth member of the Godhead.

However, this is an historically important piece of literature in the history of white American Protestantism. It's especially useful for illustrating clearly the main elements of the culture wars and theological debates that have popped up within the evangelical subculture in the last few decades. Reading Piper's anthology with Discovering Biblical Equality makes for some good sport.

Profile Image for Paige.
116 reviews
May 31, 2019
No stars, if I could give negative 5 stars, I would. This book breaks my heart for all the Christians searching for guidance and who will be mislead into thinking that this is God's design for men & women. In this book Piper provides a guide on how to be an abusive and controlling husband and shames both men and women for things neither have any control over such a physical appearance and personality traits. There are so many other things I could write about this book but I am too frustrated to find the words. This book is heartbreaking and damaging.
3 reviews1 follower
July 12, 2016
Written by two men, one repeatedly accused of providing for and furthering the physical & sexual abuse of women, children and families in his own church, and another who is currently leading a strong heretical movement within evangelical circles that claims Jesus is eternally submissive to, and without equal authority to, God the Father. This book combines the legalistic and sexual ideals of older, white, American, male megalomaniacs, with the rare and selective scripture references that leave you on the edge of your seat, just wanting more.

This book is a perfect gift for that cult leader in your life.

But don't be mistaken, this is also a must-read for complementarians and egalitarians alike, who have become apathetic to the *Spoiler alert* sexism and rape-culture that has crept seamlessly into our churches today.
Profile Image for Rodney.
2 reviews
March 26, 2018
Come for the circular logic, stay for the self-righteous indignation that the many people who disagree have the nerve to disagree. This was a disheartening read of how the Bible can be read through a complementation filter to keep women in their place and men in control. Most of the arguments come down to "men and women are different... obviously. And God agrees with our interpretation of the Bible, obviously. Feminism bad."
Profile Image for Alexis Neal.
463 reviews55 followers
December 21, 2010
An excellent text on, well, biblical manhood and womanhood. The authors are not trying to convince the secular world of the validity of complementarian gender roles--they seek only to defend complementarianism against the egalitarianism popular among evangelical feminists. Some of the essays were more persuasive than others (as is often the case), and I do wish they'd spent a little time encouraging women of God's sovereign ability to bless their efforts at biblical womanhood (since so many of us grew up in the age of feminism and thus feel better-equipped for a career in the world than for marriage and motherhood). Still, an clear and thorough presentation of complementarian theology. The appendix on the exegesis of 'kephale' was particularly. I appreciated the authors' attempts to explain their views humbly and without malice. Vitriol tends to accompany any discussion of such a hot button issue, and the authors were careful not to villainize their opponents. I was encouraged to see that they distinguished loving leadership from domination in a way that completely disarms all claims of misogyny. I also appreciated the focus on evangelism and the gospel as the chief priorities.

Definitely worth a read. Or, if the length and density is a deterrent, worth having around for reference purposes.
Profile Image for Ariana.
272 reviews6 followers
March 4, 2013
Important, solid biblical instruction for Christians. As others have mentioned, this is more of a textbook or reference guide than a sit-down-and-read-cover-to-cover book, but if you can do the latter, DO. This is such valuable work. From a personal standpoint, it gave me so much hope that eventually Christians, and one day the world, can see eye to eye on this integral issue.

Would love to see an updated version with notes containing recent statistics, as the book was written in the early nineties and much has changed in the past 20 years.
Profile Image for Jaclynn.
220 reviews
May 1, 2009
22 contributing authors including Elisabeth Elliot, John Piper, Wayne Grudem, and Ray Ortlund Jr. Not written to necessarily be read in its entirety. ( I skipped the appendixes and notes) Very in depth study of what Biblical manhood and womanhood is-an examination of aythe culture, meanings of the Greek words and a realistic view of to apply all of that in today’s world. Topics/chapters include: Male-Female equality, Male headship, What it means not to teach or have authority over men, Rearing masculine boys and feminine girls, The high calling of wife and mother, Essence of Femininity, and Biological Basis in gender specific behavior. Beware though, this book my challenge your current ideas on what God’s order is for the man and woman and how that should play out in today’s families!
Profile Image for Micah Lugg.
102 reviews6 followers
April 15, 2013

This book was originally written a decade ago, but it still stands as the best work on the biblical roles of men and women. The authors present sound exegesis and cogent theological reasoning. The church needs to be speaking to these issues of sexuality, equality, and personhood, for they are some of the most decisive issues of our day.

I heartily recommend all Christians to read this book, for believers need to be reminded what the Bible says about the roles of men and women.
Profile Image for Andy Hickman.
4,802 reviews36 followers
December 18, 2015
I admire their scholarship but topically I think they have missed it.

Grudem, Wayne, and John Piper, eds. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006.
Profile Image for Ruth Huntley.
3 reviews5 followers
September 28, 2021
This is a weighty tome and deserves a more detailed review than I will currently submit. There are true sentences written within and excellent Scripture passages quoted within this book. However, as a whole and in its ultimate conclusions, I do not find this book to deal honestly with the holy word of God. Please, if you are looking for an understanding of male & female off which to build your life's work and ministry - I exhort you to go to the Bible as your guide and not to this misleading work of man.

I highlighted some passages with which I resonated and other passages with which I took issue.

I cannot in good conscience recommend this book to serious believers looking for foundational works upon which to build their faith and practice.
Profile Image for Josiah.
825 reviews177 followers
March 11, 2022
2022 EDIT: As a general note, while I am leaving my original review and rating up as a historical reflection of where I was in 2015, my view on the particular blend of complementarianism this book pushes has shifted a lot over the past 7 years. I wouldn't recommend this book anymore and would suggest that Neither Complementarian nor Egalitarian and Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood are much better books on the subject--both of which were consequential in shifting my mindset away from the positions of this book.

I'm still a complementarian--but I now think there's some major claims this book makes that simply aren't supported by Scripture. (Piper's now-famous reflections on how a woman must be careful not to damage a stranger's natural authority by the way she gives driving directions to him (??) is one of those elements). I'm not adjusting the rating of this book at the moment since I think I'd need to re-read it in order to make a fair assessment of it. But suffice to say, this is no longer a 5-star read for me, nor one I would recommend anymore.

Original 2015 Review: When I started reading this book, I began writing a list of possible objections that I had to different points they were saying. By the time I was through the book, all of my possible objections were answered. I came into this book as a complementarian--but as one that only held to the bare minimum and that hesitated to make applications from it. After hearing the solid words of advice that the contributors had, I became a lot more confident in what the Bible says on this topic and more ready to follow biblical teachings on this topic out to their full conclusions and not merely to the minimum.

The book has an impressive set of authors and covers pretty much everything with regards to this issue. Because its basic format is as a compilation of articles, some topics can be a tad redundant. But it was an excellent book to read through, and also a nice source to just have in the bookshelf. Part 1, where Piper & Grudem define Biblical manhood and womanhood, and also quickly answer a list of sixty-some questions; and Part 3, where the ramifications of Biblical truth are shown in other realms, were two of my favorite sections. Part 2 did an excellent job of fully exegeting all of the relevant Bible passages; I didn't personally get much from Part 4, which was more application and encouragement, but it was a fairly good section nonetheless.

Overall, this book did a great job of covering pretty much all aspects of the issue and solidifying my understanding and commitment to biblical complementarianism. A+ work.

Rating: 4.5-5 Stars (Excellent).
May 21, 2020
John Piper, Wayne Grudem, and I don’t agree on much of anything. As a self proclaimed Jesus loving, radical feminist, I wasn’t sure this book would have much to offer me. But within its pages I found an overwhelming sense of God’s grace and love, an affirmation of my calling to ministry, and a renewed sense of God’s presence in my calling. This was obviously unintentional on Grudem and Piper’s part, but it was in their statement that God doesn’t genuinely call women to ministry where I experienced the call to ministry all over again. I feel sorry for Piper and Grudem and all the other men and women who contributed to this book. I wept with compassion and grief for the small, limiting god that they worship. The god that tells them what is Biblical and what is not. The god that tells them what is manhood or womanhood and what is not. The god that tells them the exact ways in which the Holy Spirit works and the ways in which it doesn’t. I think my encounter with the Holy Spirit in this text is enough to prove that God is unpredictable.

I worship a God who is so much bigger than the limits put on him in this book. My God calls me and claims me. My God equips me and leads me. My God guides me and loves me with so much grace and forgiveness my head gets dizzy just thinking about it. I worship a big, big God who calls me to the pulpit, and the hospital bed, and the mission field. I worship a big, big God who gives me words to tell people how loved they are. I worship a big, big God who doesn’t put limits on me and what I can do, who calls me a woman of valor and who blesses me beyond measure. This is the God I preach about in the pulpit. This is the God who has fearfully and wonderfully made me in such a way that I don’t have to worry about my sexuality or my gender or if I’m being “feminine” enough because there are no conditions, no restrictions on the creativity God employed when God made me.

So, would I recommend this book to others? Absolutely not. The theology is circuitous and juvenile at best. At times the writers actually prove a Biblical foundation for feminism within the text and then refuse to acknowledge it by making lame-ass excuses about Jesus’ views on masculinity. At other times the writers proof-text their exegesis for what they want scripture to say, forcing it into a mold in the same way you force dough through a noodle maker. Rarely do they acknowledge a radical sovereignty of God that allows for unpredictability and radical grace in God’s actions. (Even CS Lewis said that God was dangerously unpredictable in a children’s series.) And they miss the entire point of the Gospel.

But, did I see Jesus in this book? Did I find radical grace and forgiveness? Absolutely.

I should be incredibly angry by the way this book uses the Biblical message to de-value women. But God has given me the grace to forgive and grieve. So thanks be to God!
Profile Image for Jonathan Ammon.
Author 9 books9 followers
January 31, 2019
This is the most comprehensive defense of traditional complementarianism out there, featuring a number of scholars from the reformed tradition and covering a wide range of topics regarding men and women, masculinity and femininity. While comprehensive, the book is fairly outdated now, with most of the articles directed at more extreme positions within evangelical feminism. I wish there was an updated version of this book that interacted with the work of more moderate positions and exegesis from scholars like Gordon Fee, Craig Keener, Ben Whitherington, and others.

While this volume does address egalitarian exegesis of the key texts, it doesbetter in some places than others (D.A. Carson's is quite adept), and fails to address broader questions of hermeneutics. Because so much of the book is aimed at more extreme positions many will feel that the authors are attacking straw men, or non-evangelical positions.

The book is thorough, answers almost every question you could have, and does so directly and clearly. For this, I give it three stars. Revisiting a position I once held, confirms that I am no longer comfortable with these views. I fully agree that God designed men and women differently. I no longer believe this necessitates well-defined roles and positions in the way this book asserts. I will continue to wrestle with these issues and study, returning to this lengthy volume as a reference.
19 reviews
August 7, 2010
Didn't agree with everything written by every contributor - in particular some of the suggestions that women should relate to all men with respectful submission, encouraging them to lead. Even if the woman was in a position of authority in a secular job.

That seemed to be taking it too far, and beyond what the Bible says.

However, as I get older I am more and more sympathetic to the perspectives put forward by most of the authors. I also respect the biblical sholarship of Grudem et. al. An important book.
Profile Image for Caroline.
56 reviews4 followers
August 24, 2012
This book has a few solid essays (the ones by D. A. Carson, Douglas Moo, and Vern Sheridan Poythress, in particular), some frustrating essays that have little evidence (biblical or otherwise) to back up their theses, and then some scientific essays regarding psychological and biological differences between men and women that are now outdated. The book is worth reading, but I suggest borrowing it before you buy it.
Profile Image for Kimberly  Winters.
80 reviews4 followers
November 27, 2011
The reason christian fellowship has become boring and two-dimensional is in part owing to our individual and corporate ignorance of our God-designed biblical manhood and womanhood and the ways in which our embracing (and/or rejecting) that design impacts intimacy between believers. This book guides us back to the soul satisfying fellowship Jesus Christ died to make possible.
Profile Image for Pastor Matt.
179 reviews22 followers
October 18, 2018
At the risk of being unduly repetitive, this is a work that EVERY minister needs to have at hand.
Profile Image for Caroline.
221 reviews2 followers
May 1, 2021
In the main this is a thoughtful, well written and thorough academic piece of exegesis and social commentary, covering every aspect of what a study of biblical manhood and womanhood should be, from the theological to the biological.

While you may disagree on the central premise of male headship, I thought that the tone was generally gracious and careful to make the point of valuing women in both dignity and worth.

There were only a few points I took issue with;

The introduction includes a detailed definition of what manhood and womanhood should be according to the bible. However, there is a strange propensity to give very detailed examples that now just seem weird and old-fashioned. For example, a woman should think about the way they give directions to a man that does not compromise their femininity? If they are in a position of leadership in their workplace, how do they display a submissive nature to the men under them? The men equally should think about their manhood in terms of whether they hold the door for a woman, pay at a restaurant and many more things. What? Piper, you are showing your age here! This, I thought was stretching male headship a tad too far with no basis in the text.

There were 2 other chapters I took issue with and those were the ones on motherhood and fatherhood. Both of these chapters leaned very heavily towards blaming the individual for 1.) Mothers choosing careers over being a homemaker and 2) Fathers being absent from the home. There was no discussion of the culpability of systemic patterns in these outcomes. What about those who don’t have a choice? Who have to work to put food on the table? Apparently, I just need to make the choice to be a housewife and stop trying to make a career for myself. Stop being so selfish, woman!

Despite this, I found the biblical exegesis compelling and it cemented my, what we are now calling, ‘soft’ complementarian viewpoint.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone studying the issue, and most especially to those who disagree.
Profile Image for Matt Crawford.
390 reviews9 followers
March 29, 2023
For the complementarian, this book, which is really just a complication of essays, is nothing new. It’s affirming what we ready believe. For the egalitarians, feminists, and I would include the new followers of the woke movement , it asks questions that they must consider to justify their position. The essays often repeat key verses. Some of the arguments overlap. Still it is a reminder to hold true, based in biblical evidence rather than simply tradition.
Profile Image for Jacob Wigley.
33 reviews
May 25, 2023
A worthwhile investment. I've read a number of extracts from this book over time, especially as I worked on my undergrad dissertation, but I'd never read it cover to cover. Studying through this from beginning to end was fruitful and helpful, and I now look forward to reading a book which argues against everything this book has to say! That'll probably be "Discovering Biblical Equality", or Andrew Bartlet's "Men and Women in Christ".
Profile Image for Samuel.
228 reviews5 followers
August 30, 2022
A strong and comprehensive look at the Bible’s directives for men and women. Each article gives appropriate care and concern for both sides while seeking to be faithful to Scripture. Definitely a book I will read and reference regularly, especially given the current state of our culture.
Profile Image for John Shelton.
71 reviews
July 5, 2019
There are actually some good essays in here. I was especially impressed by the inclusion of William Weinrich’s overview of church history. However, the majority of the essays seemed to suffer from some unreflective points about masculinity and gender. Not all the authors seemed to realize that gender is encultured in specific ways and that the evangelical way of thinking about work re gender used roles has much more to do with cultural changes brought about by the industrial revolution rather than biblical principles. There seemed to be a range of awareness or interest in this point.
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